Tag Archives: George Stavros

Eastern Orthodox Clergy: An At-Risk Population

by George Stavros

“I know how weak and puny my soul is. I know the magnitude of this ministry and the great difficulty of the work. More stormy billows vex the soul of the priest than the gales that trouble the sea.”  (St. John Chrysostom, On the Priesthood)

At the end of the 4th Century, over 1600 years ago, a not-yet-ordained St. John Chrysostom was engaging with the deeply personal question of whether to move forward in answering a call to the priesthood. Many of his insights into the challenges of ordained ministry are no less relevant for 21st century Eastern Orthodoxy in America as they were for the Church of 4th and 5th century Antioch. Priests of the Eastern Orthodox Church are precious and unique members of the Body of Christ, with roles and expectations that place them at the center of the spiritual lives of the people and communities they have been called to serve. The challenges that they and their families face in carrying out their sacred work in an increasingly secular culture cannot be underestimated, something which both ancient patristic wisdom and modern social science affirm.

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